SUNDAY EXPRESS July 4, 1982 THE SEYCHELLES TRIAL How a British doctor Shielded mercenaries YOU'LL HAVE TO SHOOT ME FIRST, HE TOLD SOLDIERS BY DESMOND BLOW VICTORIA - An English doctor saved two mercenaries from being shot by Tanzanian soldiers as they lay shackled to beds in a Seychelles hospital. Dr. Desmond Fosbery, 42, shielded the men - one a Briton, the other a Zimbabwean - by standing between them and the soldiers. He raised his arms and told the soldiers: "Before you kill them, you will have to shoot me. They are my patients and I am responsible for their lives." And Dr. Fosbery, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, must have been an imposing sight. He is tall and gaunt, dresses in yellow Buddhist robes and wears his hair in a bun at the nape of his neck. His action saved the lives of Bernard Carey and Aubrey Brooks, left behind in the Seychelles after the abortive coup in November last year. But Dr. Fosbery, a converted Buddhist, dismisses his bravery. "As a Buddhist I believe one life is just the continuation of the last. So if I had been killed it would have been merely a transition from one life to another." The following day soldiers took the men from the hospital, although Dr. Fosbery said they were too ill to leave. Mr. Brooks had a bullet wound in the thigh and Mr. Carey several broken ribs after being beaten with rifle butts. Mr. Brooks had also been beaten and had a black eye. Allegations of torture were made during the trial of the six mercenaries in Victoria this week. Most face the death penalty for alleged treason. Dr. Fosbery's medical reports on Mr. Brooks and Mr. Carey were handed into the court in a plea of mitigation by former Scots Solicitor-General Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn. I spoke to Dr. Fosbery aboard his boat 'Jaho', a Tahiti Ketch moored in Victoria Bay, which has been his home for the last two years. This week he returned to England after fulfilling a 30-month contract as a surgeon for the Seychelles Government. Recalling the hospital incident he said: "The situation was critical. Tensions were running high. It was only a few days after the attack on the airport and the faces of the Tanzanian soldiers were full of hate. "It was a Sunday night. Before I went off duty I checked on the two patients who were kept in a separate ward under guard." The Guards had handcuffed the two to their beds, but Dr. Fosbery had insisted that they leave the men at least one hand free. Later Dr. Fosbery received a phone call from the ward nurse, who said the two men wanted to see him immediately. The soldiers guarding the two men had been joined by others. They had told the nurses on duty to leave the ward and said: "When you hear shooting keep your heads down." Dr. Fosbery said: "I could feel the tension as I walked in." He demanded of the officer in charge why the men had been shackled again. "I said they were ill and needed treatment. "The officer did not reply and Carey shook his head, saying 'They're not going to take any notice, doctor, they've decided they are going to shoot us'." Dr. Fosbery simply stepped in front of the beds, opened his arms wide, and told the soldiers they would have to shoot him first. The officer hesitated. The soldiers lowered their rifles but demanded they take the mercenaries away. Dr. Fosbery refused. He said the two men were not ready for discharge and demanded that the soldiers manacle them in the way they had found them. The officer then approached a more senior member of staff who said he could not interfere with Dr. Fosbery's patients. For the next four hours Dr. Fosbery, watched by six soldiers, stayed with his patients as the tension gradually lessened. He went home at 1am but at midday nurses reported that the soldiers had taken the mercenaries away. Dr. Fosbery protested and was told to submit a report. As Mr. Carey was a British citizen Dr. Fosbery told the British High Commissioner. The men were apparently beaten up again. Mr. Brooks' teeth were smashed and his nose was broken but he set it himself. On November 25 he was injured in the attack on the army barracks, but wandered away and passed out. Mr. Carey had refused to leave the island on the Air India Boeing as Mr. Brooks was missing. They met up and went into hiding for a day but decided to give themselves up to the police so Mr. Brooks could get medical attention.